Bake With Me – Better Banana Bread

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Better Banana Bread (or Mini Muffins)

This recipe (found on Simply Recipes) has now replaced my old favorite: this one is easier, faster AND tastes better – triple threat!

INGREDIENTS:

3 Ripe Bananas

1/3 Cup Melted Butter

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg, beaten

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1 1/2 Cups all-purpose Flour

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350, spray loaf pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray.

2. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas with potato masher until smooth. Stir/whisk in melted butter.

3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.

4. Pour batter into (sprayed) muffin tins or loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour (give or take a few) and check after 50 minutes. Mini muffins only take 29 minutes. Done when golden brown or toothpick comes out clean from the center.

5. Remove from oven, cool before removing from pan.

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How do you enjoy your banana muffins? I like them warm and fresh from the oven. Hubby likes them with peanut butter. Happy Baking! 

What I’ve Been Reading

love-reading

Here’s a few more from the last few weeks.

The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted by Andrew Kaufman:

SHE ONLY STEPPED OUTSIDE FOR A MINUTE…
But a minute was all it took to turn Jean Kingsley’s world upside down—a minute she’d regret for the rest of her life.
STEPPING INTO HER WORST NIGHTMARE…
Because when she returned, she found an open bedroom window and her three-year-old son, Nathan, gone. The boy would never be seen again.

A NIGHTMARE THAT ONLY BECAME WORSE.
A tip leads detectives to the killer, a repeat sex offender, and inside his apartment, a gruesome discovery. A slam-dunk trial sends him off to death row, then several years later, to the electric chair.

CASE CLOSED. JUSTICE SERVED…OR WAS IT?
Now, more than thirty years later, Patrick Bannister unwittingly stumbles across evidence among his dead mother’s belongings—it paints her as the killer and her brother, a wealthy and powerful senator, as the one pulling the strings.

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall: 

I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.

Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

The Tornado by Missy Blue:

A once gifted ballet dancer chained to the demons of her past, Jewel is broken and can no longer dance, her dream torn away from her. Determined to not lie down and die, she takes up the fight, disguising herself as a man, and dares to enter… The Tornado’s testosterone-fueled boxing gym.

An ex-Marine turned MMA fighter, living in the shadow of his tragic past, Asher “The Tornado” Prince only wants to keep his head in the game, turning any man who enters the ring into dust. His temper is hotter than a branding iron, keeping everyone at arm’s length for good reason. He is all tattooed muscle, blood, sweat, and anyone who dares to cross his path, he’ll leave them in tears.

But one night is all it takes. One look is all it takes. Two broken souls find love in the unlikeliest of places.

I can tell you that I finished reading Sugar in 2 days and I stayed up til the wee hours of the night just to finish it – it was a pleasant departure from my usual mystery/crime type genre. Happy reading!

Memorial Day Mama

Memorial Day Mama

Blue dress
maykool.com

Keds shoes
keds.com

R.J. Graziano stud earrings
lordandtaylor.com

NOVICA bracelet
novica.com

Jade bracelet
klustershop.com

Beach hat
$61 – black.co.uk

Essie nail polish
sleekhair.com

THANKS TO ALL WHO SERVE: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE

Homemade Guacamole Recipe

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Sometimes things are the best when they are simple – that’s how I feel about this guacamole. It’s straight forward without anything complicating the fresh flavors.

INGREDIENTS: 

3 Ripe Avocados

1 Plum Tomato (diced small)

1/4 Vidalia Onion (diced small)

Salt & Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut avocados in half lengthwise, remove pits and scoop out “flesh” into a bowl

2. Add salt & pepper (to taste) then mash avocado with potato masher until smooth

3. Add diced tomato and onion to mashed avocado, mix with spoon until well blended

Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy 🙂

*If you’re feeling adventurous, add some chopped bacon into the mix – yum!

May 2015 Stitch Fix Review

It’s that time again – the little box of surprises was waiting at my front door when I came home earlier today! If you’re not sure what Stitch Fix is, please check out my prior posts and reviews. If you’re ready to give yourself the gift of a personal stylist, make my day by using my referral link! 🙂 I feel goofy every time I post my own picture, but I want you to see a real person wearing each item. Ok – here comes the review:

Loveappella – Lyndrel Knit Top $48

(This t-shirt is SO soft!)

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Bay to Baubles – Selana Gem & Crystal Necklace $34

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Papermoon – Rosen Sheer Detail Blouse $44

(These pictures don’t do this top justice, very feminine and the top sheer part has tiny white polka dots)

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Liverpool – Mira Skinny Pant $68

(These are like a stretch legging with back pockets, but no front button or zip)

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Pixley – Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress $68

(I feel like this dress can be dressed up or down for lots of use)

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I need one of those stretchy thick belts for this!

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Vest from previous fix

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Verdict: I kept it all – again! My stylist, Genniva, is getting too good! Certain things, like the necklace, I never would have chosen for myself, but I always think other people look great wearing similar ones! Now I have my own to play with. I had pinned the t-shirt on Pinterest, so getting that was a plus. And of course, who can’t use a stretchy pair of black pants for all seasons!? Since I kept the whole box, after the 25% discount, each item averages out to $36.30. Not too shabby!

Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? Do you think this box was a keeper?

Mother’s Day Dedication

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I saw a quote online the other day that said:

THERE’S NO WAY TO BE A PERFECT MOTHER, BUT A MILLION WAYS TO BE A GOOD ONE 

…and it got me thinking about my journey the past (almost) two years as a mom. I had little to no experience with kids before having my own and I was scared. I really didn’t even feel comfortable around most children; didn’t know what to do, or how to talk to them. I constantly worried, towards the end of my pregnancy, that I wouldn’t know what to do with my own baby, or how to be a good mom.

It’s so easy to look at other moms who seem to “have it all” or be so put-together all the time and think, “What am I doing wrong?” or “How does she do it?” but the truth is – it doesn’t matter! Most of the time I’m winging it and doing the best I can, but guess what? My kid thinks I’m awesome (99% of the time!) and that’s all that matters.

I know there will come a day, probably during the dreaded (pre)teen years, that I may not be so popular with my little one, but until then I will take comfort in the fact that there’s no “right way” to be a mom. As long as my little one continues to be a happy, funny, little individual, then I must be doing something right.

Motherhood is the craziest, most awesome/difficult/rewarding job I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. To all the other moms out there: keep up the good work and continue being the best mom you know how to be! 

* Happy Mother’s Day *